The earth, along with the other planets, revolves around the sun in its orbit. In turn, the moon revolves around the earth in moon’s orbit. There comes a time when the three heavenly bodies get aligned in a same straight line. This is when an eclipse occurs. It is defined as an astronomical phenomenon which occurs when one spatial object comes within the shadow of another spatial object. This obstructs the observer from seeing one of them in space. On earth, we witness two types of eclipses: solar and lunar.
Also known as the eclipse of the sun, it occurs when the moon comes in between the sun and the earth. As a result, the moon blocks the light of the sun from reaching the earth’s surface and casts a shadow on it. This occurs on a new moon phase. We can observe up to 5 solar eclipses per year.
Depending on the distance of the moon from the earth during the event, different types of solar concealment can be observed. They can be categorized as:
- Partial: When the moon does not align completely with the sun and so only a portion of the sunlight is blocked from reaching earth.
- Annular: When the moon covers the sun but the sun can be seen around the edges of the moon giving an impression of the sun is a bright ring surrounding the dark disc of the moon.
- Total: When the sun is completely covered by the moon. The sky becomes so dark that it appears to be night. Only a small area on the earth can witness it.
Also known as the eclipse of the moon, it occurs when the earth comes in between the sun and the moon. As a result, the earth blocks the light of the sun from reaching the moon’s surface and casts its shadow on the moon. It occurs on a full moon day. We can observe up to 3 lunar eclipses per year.
Depending on how the sun, the moon, and the earth line up, lunar eclipse too can be categorized as:
- Partial: When only a part of the moon moves into the shadow of the earth.
- Total: When the earth passes directly in front of the moon and casts its shadow on the full moon.
It is advised that one should not look at the sun directly during the solar eclipse as it can permanently damage the eyes. However, it is safe to watch the lunar eclipse with the naked eyes.